New West birthday wish to adopt a tree comes true

Leah Cote is looking forward to watching her birthday gift grow and flourish in the years ahead.

When it came time to selecting a gift for his daughter’s birthday, Mayor Jonathan Cote knew just the thing. He let the cat out of the bag at the March 9 council meeting, where he put forward a motion that the City of New Westminster partner with Earth Day Canada and potentially local environmental groups to coordinator an annual Earth Day celebration or activity in the community.

“It actually came from my daughter Leah. It’s actually her birthday tomorrow,” he said. “One thing she has asked for for her birthday is to actually adopt a tree. I’ve been filling out the forms on the City of New West’s website. .. Certainly, she is one who is very conscious of the environment and really passionate about it.”

Leah’s birthday wish came true, as she has been approved to tend to one of the city’s trees.

“One of her birthday surprises was the adopt-a-tree from the City of New Westminster near our home in downtown New Westminster,” Cote later told the Record. “She is looking forward to doing her part to helping our tree canopy in the city. I think the trees we have identified are ones that in the long summer months, in dry periods, do need more watering. We anticipate that our supporting activities will come more in the summer period.”

The City of New Westminster has a goal of increasing the tree canopy cover to 27% by 2030. As part of that goal it’s launched a series of initiatives, including an adopt-a-street-tree program that aims to engage residents in the stewardship of trees on city property. 

“With new street and boulevard tree plantings, the city will actively recruit tree care assistance from neighbourhood volunteers,” said a city notice about the adopt program. “When a new tree(s) is planted in the street/boulevard, the closest resident will receive a door hanger notice with explanation on how to volunteer to adopt-a-street-tree(s).   The program expectations of the residents will include tree(s) watering in the dry summer months, adding mulch at the base as needed and to notifying the parks and recreation department with any tree care issues or concerns.”

Anyone wishing to adopt a street tree can fill out an online application at After getting a confirmation from the city, residents should read the instructions and begin caring for tree or trees assigned to them.

As part of the implementation of the tree-planting master plan, the city is aiming to plant up to 500 new trees annually on city streets and boulevards.

© New West Record